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What is a Midwife?

Whether you are a first-time parent or a seasoned pro, a midwife can help guide you through the exciting and challenging changes that come with bringing a new life into the world. Read on to take a closer look at the role of midwives and the many benefits they can offer to expectant parents and their families.

What is a Midwife?

A midwife is a healthcare professional who specializes in providing care for birthing persons during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Midwives have been an integral part of the childbirth process for centuries. They are trained to support birthing persons in having a natural, low-intervention birth, but they are also skilled in managing complications that may arise during pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives work in collaboration with obstetricians and other healthcare providers to offer comprehensive, holistic, and personalized care to expectant parents.

Working with a midwife enables pregnant individuals to develop a trusting relationship with their provider, defined by personalized care, emotional support, and continuity of care. Midwives consider pregnancy and childbirth to be normal life events, not medical conditions, and promote natural childbirth in order to reduce the need for medical interventions such as inductions and Cesarean sections. Midwives can offer care in hospital, birth center, and home settings, and can refer parents to other specialists when necessary.

What are the different types of midwives?

In order to become certified, midwives must complete a rigorous program of study that includes both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience and pass a national certification exam. There are two main types of midwives: certified professional licensed midwives (CPM/LMs) and certified nurse midwives (CNMs). CPMs are trained in midwifery and hold a bachelor's degree in midwifery, while CNMs are registered nurses who have completed an accredited midwifery education program. After passing the certification exam, both types of midwives are qualified to provide care for birthing persons during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

How do midwives compare to obstetricians?

Both obstetricians and midwives are highly trained healthcare professionals who are well-equipped to handle many aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. Compared to obstetricians, midwives have a more holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth. They specialize in providing personalized care and education to women and focus on empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their care. Midwives also strive to minimize unnecessary interventions during pregnancy and childbirth and to promote natural childbirth.

In some situations, expectant parents with certain medical conditions may not be able to utilize a midwife during pregnancy. Such conditions or complications may include high risk pregnancies, vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, placenta previa, uterine or cervical abnormalities, or a history of premature births or miscarriage. When necessary, a midwife can refer individuals to an obstetrician or another healthcare professional for specialized care.

What are the advantages of having a midwife?

Midwives provide continuous care throughout pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period, which allows them to develop close relationships and effective communication with their clients. Instead of having your delivery attended by whatever doctor is on call during the time of your delivery, you can count on having a midwife who personally knows you and your values and vision for labor! This personalized care may lead to improved satisfaction and outcomes for both mother and the baby. In addition, seeing a midwife is often more cost-effective than seeing an obstetrician, which cuts down on unnecessary expenditures for expecting families. Midwives are also trained to provide care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, birthing centers, and home births, which can give individuals more options for where to have their baby.

Midwives encourage natural childbirth and can serve as a calming presence, providing emotional support and numerous techniques such as position changes, hydrotherapy, relaxation, and guided pushing, in order to aid in labor. Midwives possess a wealth of knowledge based on years of experience with expectant parents of all backgrounds.

At Long Beach Birth Center, our team of experienced midwives are committed to providing personalized care and emotional support to ensure that your birth experience is safe, empowering, and truly unforgettable. To learn more about how our team of midwives can make your birth experience extraordinary, reach out to us today and schedule a free consultation! We would love to be a part of your journey to parenthood.

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